Boing Boing 

New Canadian anti-DRM coalition

IntellectualPrivacy.ca is a new Canadian anti-DRM coalition, devoted to ensuring that Canada doesn't end up with American-style DMCA rules that let entertainment companies use DRM to override the user rights in copyright. They've sent an open letter to Canada's Heritage Minister that's excellent:
Rather than consulting on privacy and considering copyright law reforms that would protect Canadians from the use of DRM (as an increasing number of commentators have suggested we should do), our former government proposed copyright reforms that would provide protection for DRM. Proposed ‘anti-circumvention’ provisions would make it illegal for people to circumvent copyright holders’ DRM. Such legal provisions could cripple Canadians’ ability to protect their privacy and to enjoy copyright works in private, free from copyright holders’ DRM ‘spyware’. This problem is aggravated by free-market arguments that attempt to justify DRM on the basis that people often ‘agree’ to the surveillance when they agree to the standard-form contracts implemented by DRM. However, the law must protect individuals by ensuring that such ‘agreements’ reflect the expectations of the parties and are not used to circumvent privacy. Deceptive standard-form agreements that add provisions on surveillance undermine consumer confidence and hurt the acceptance of market-based solutions.
Link

Forbidden Planet sf bookstores start a podcast

Forbidden Planet, the excellent international chain of science fiction bookstores, has begun a podcast to review books, comics, movies, RPGs and other genre material. Link (Thanks, Joe!)

All-smoking airline to take off soon (in puff of smoke)

A German entrepreneur has launched SMINTAIR, the world's first "all-smoking" airline, with nonstops from Dusseldorf to Tokyo. The airline website promises "bring back the exclusivity in flying encountered in the 1960s" -- ah, you mean the exclusivity of oxygen in the cabin? Connoisseurs of second-hand smoke are encouraged to book flights too, because
Non-smokers will find the cabin air more refreshing than on any other flight with any other airline, as SMINTAIR adds fresh outside air to the conditioning system! This is more expensive, as it burns more fuel, but it is seen as an additional service to our guests.
Instead of free travel, frequent flyer miles earn you lung tumors. Link to blog post, here's a BBC News item. (thanks better living through miles) Reader comment: Brian Nicks says,
This is a hysterical claim on the part of SMINTAIR. All airlines add fresh outside air to the conditioning system (about 50% of what you breathe in an airliner is fresh outside air). Jet engines take bleed air to feed air conditioning packs that introduce the outside air to the cabin, continually replenishing the supply of air in the cabin. SMINTAIR is selling a feature that all airlines provide. From airlinesafety.com:
In flight, the packs are usually operated in “high flow” mode during ground operations, and the climb/descent portions of the flight. Recirculation fans are also running to enhance the velocity of the air in the cabin. When cruise altitude is reached, it is normal for the packs to change from high flow to “normal” flow. That means they pump air into the cabin at a somewhat lower volume (cubic feet per minute) than they do in the high flow mode. That is done to reduce wear and tear on the packs and to save fuel. The laws of physics require additional energy consumption to pump higher volumes of air. That requirement is even more pronounced with the newer energy efficient and environmental friendly engines of today: "... most newer jetliners are powered by high-bypass-ratio fan engines which are much quieter, much cleaner burning, more powerful and much more efficient. At the front end of this engine type is a large-diameter fan, which is powered by the core. The fan moves a large volume of air past the core rather than through it, and actually generates most of the thrust. Every unit of pressurized air extracted from the engine core has the effect of reducing fan thrust by an even greater amount, and that degrades fuel efficiency more severely on this type of engine than on the older type. By providing the cabin with a mixture of about 50 percent outside air taken from the compressor and 50 percent recirculated air, a balance has been achieved that maintains a high level of cabin air quality, good fuel efficiency and less impact to our environment." [Excerpt from Boeing consumer news. For the entire document, and more, click here: Boeing. See also, Facts and Myths]

Read the rest

Photographer calls critic's boss to complain

Boing Boing pal and photographers' rights activist Thomas Hawk has come under fire from Jill Greenberg, a photographer whose methods he criticized online. Greenberg photographs distressed children, and Hawk criticized her for her methods in getting the children into a photogenic state of distress. In response, Greenberg and her husband have threatened to sue him for libel and called his employer. Hawk's response is a good one: he argues that if they disagree with him, they should disagree with him, not attempt to silence him. As they say in First Amendment circles: the answer to bad speech is more speech.
First she tries to discredit me as an insane person with personal problems who she doesn't even think has kids (even though in my blog post about her I clearly state I've got four children, have photos of my four children up on flickr and elsewhere on my blog etc.) She tells this to a professional publication American Photo (whom I've asked for a retraction from and who never contacted me to verify her claims even though they pulled quotes from my same post that referenced that I had four kids).

Next, Jill tracks down my employer, an unrelated third party who has absolutely zero to do with my personal views and opinions and tries to apply pressure to get me to pull my post. She literally calls my boss this morning who has absolutely zero to do with any of my blogging. (By the way Jill, I blog from my own laptop on my own time). The last company who thought that they could intimidate me by involving my employer, an unrelated third party, went by the name PriceRitePhoto. I don't think they are in business anymore but feel free to Google them to read the story.

And then her husband tells me that in his opinion I'm committing libel. I'm committing libel for having an opinion that what Jill is doing to these kids constitutes abuse. That to emotionally work these kids up is abusive. My opinion Robert Green. He goes on to tell me that if I want to discuss this further that I get a lawyer.

Link (Thanks, Zack!)

Love-song about an IRC bot

Boten Anna is a song by the Swedish DJ Basshunter -- a love song about an IRC bot. Check out the video with multilingual subtitles and marvel in the fact that a song about an IRC bot actually charted in Sweden. As Danny says, "Maybe the Pirate Party has a chance in Sweden after all..." Link (via Oblomovka)

Map of London's quietest spaces

London is the loudest city I've ever lived in -- something about the rain, the squealing brakes on the black cabs, the construction, and the roar of pubs -- as anyone who's received a phone call from someone walking the streets can attest. Simon Elvins, a London artist, has produced a map of the city's quietest spaces:
Using information the government has collected on noise levels within London, a map has been plotted of the capital's most silent spaces. The map intends to reveal a hidden landscape of quiet spaces and shows an alternate side of the city that would normally go unnoticed.
Link (via We Make Money Not Art)

Fairy-doors set into the sides of Ann Arbor's buildings

Many of Portland, Oregon's Ann Arbor, Michigan's buildings sport "fairy doors" that are just a few inches high, set unobtrusively into their facades. These doors appear to be purely ornamental (or, possibly transdimensional gateways into the Land of Faery) and this site collects images of them. Link (via Neatorama)

Future of Journalism: students fan out to cover story

Check out this amazing student-journalism project: students from five universities have picked a single, huge, ambitious subject and are fanning out across America to report on it over a long period, producing CC-licensed, broadcast-quality video and text.
The American military is in the midst of a profound shift in strategy that is reshaping the military's presence, and in many cases, its mission, around the world. Older, permanent bases are downsizing or being restructured; newer, smaller and more flexible bases, in places new to American troops, are being created. We are looking for ways to tell stories--cultural, economic, political and environmental--about the nearly half million men and women serving the security interests of the United States overseas.

The students have fanned out across the globe for their on-the-ground reporting, which ultimately will be used to produce broadcast-quality journalism. But one way they're learning to tell this story is through a blog, US Military Abroad, on which you'll find a good example of group blogging. And (update) don't miss their Korea blog. Other project blogs include:

* Privacy, Civil Liberties and Homeland Security (Medill School, Northwestern University)
* Immigration Outpost (Annenberg School, University of Southern California)
* Homeland Security Money Trail (Columbia University)

Link (Thanks, Dan!0

We feel more sorrow over not partying than not working

A study has concluded that in the short run, we are glad for having deprived ourselves of pleasure to work, while in long-term, we regret not working less and playing more. As the saying goes, "No one ever went to a death-bed saying, 'I wish I'd spent more time at the office.'"

In another experiment, students who'd just come back from their break were polled. The ones who'd partied it up regretted their actions -- while those who studied were virtuously smug. But when asked to recall the spring break from the previous year, suddenly more students regretted their choice not to party. When alumni were asked to recall their spring breaks of 40 years ago, the results were even starker: Those who hadn't been doing beer shots out of a barber's chair were striken with remorse.
Link

Paintings executed in the dust on a Mini's windscreen


Austin's Scott Wade uses paint-brushes and his fingers to paint incredibly detailed art-scenes in the dust that accumulates on the windows of his Mini Cooper. The Austin American-Statesman has a small gallery of his finest work -- I love this dogs playing poker repro. My takeaway: anything that looks good in black velvet also works well in windshield dust. Link (via Neatorama)

Star Wars-inspired tattoos

Tattoos and Toys sports an impressive (but hard-to-navigate) collection of tattoos inspired by toys, movies and cartoons: Star Wars, GI Joe, Transformers, and others. Link (Thanks, Shane!)

HOWTO make your own Maakies sock-monkey

Craftbits has a great new DIY project: make your own sock monkey as featured in Tony Millionaire's Maakies. If you've never read Maakies before, you're a lucky person because you get to experience a lot of pleasure for the first time. The Maakies books come in two flavors: incredibly obscene, savage and roll-on-the-ground hilarious comic books intended for adults; and sweet, twisted and utterly PG picture books intended for children. They're like candy-coated razor-blades, and there could be no fitter tribute to the books than to make your own sock monkey. Link (Thanks, Vikram!)

Update: Matt sez, "Here's a Flickr set of some fantastic sock monkeys created by a Boston artist."

Lightning photography

 Photos 1993 1993012406 Storm chaser Michael Bath has been photographing severe weather for almost twenty years. He's archived hundreds of his beautiful photos of thunderstorms and lightning on his Web site. Michael was also kind enough to prepare a page of tips for those of you who want to take your own lightning photos. This shot was snapped on January 24, 1993, in Oakhurst, New South Wales, Australia.
Link (Thanks, Janis Sawyer!)

Donovan Crosby at sixspace gallery in Culver City

Artist Donovan Crosby is showing her wonderfully creepy work at sixspace gallery in Culver City, CA from July 1 – August 12, 2006. It reminds me a little of Marc Davis' paintings in Disney's Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.
200606272213 This summer sixspace is proud to present Kindertotenlieder, the first solo exhibition by California-based artist Donovan Crosby. In her new acrylic paintings (on canvas and panel), she portrays Victorian-era children with flowers. Using the saccharine iconography of the 19th century, Crosby plays on the irony and perhaps oversimplification of our idealized expectations regarding the imagery of children or flowers. Often perceived merely as "pretty little things," each can carry within a fundamental "darkness" and complexity that, while disturbing in some regards, is also a natural component.

The depiction of certain flowers in Kindertotenlieder reference a "language of flowers" that was a common tradition in Napoleonic France through Victorian-era England. Citing two authoritative historical sources, Crosby utilized floral meanings that have meanings such as "absence," "reverie," and "hatred" that counter-act the quaint notion that flowers, and subsequently children, are wholesome and simplistic – for instance, the symbolic use of flowers was as much present in superstition and proverbs as it was communications and ceremonies. These dark undertones also signify the horrible living conditions many children suffered during the 19th century.

Link

Johnny Ryan's Comic Book Holocaust

The first 200 people to buy a copy of Johnny Ryan's new Comic Book Holocaust from Buenaventura will get a signed/numbered edition. The book collects all Ryan's self-published comic parodies, plus 22 previously unpublished strips.
200606272206 In these 128 raunchy, parody-packed pages, Ryan mocks every kind of comic imaginable. Comic Book Holocaust skewers characters of all types, from newspaper strip icons and alternative favorites to the stars of Manga, sci-fi, kid's, and superhero comics. This hilarious and irreverent sketchbook collection continues the Johnny Ryan brand of gleefully perverse humor.

BP Webshop Exclusive: The first 200 books ordered through the BP webshop will have a signed and numbered bookplate tipped in. These bookplates were cut down from the 3-color letterpress prints originally made for the covers of the four minicomics that this book collects (we'll remove this description when they run out). Buenaventura Press, 2006. 6.75 x 8.5 in. 128pp.

Link

Video of naked people attach themselves to trees in Colombia

Emulating the naked statue of Bolivar in downtown Bogota, students took off their clothes, stood against trees, and got wrapped in cling film in the name of art.
Cling paper art studentsStudent: "We are seeing rather terrible things these days, odd things that didn't happen before. That immorality was bonded to increase more and more each day is written. Evil, crime, genocide, all those dreadful things, kingdoms against each other, nations fighting each other, all that is in the Bible."
Link

Iran's UN Human Rights appointees: no friends of net, press

Writer Nasrin Alavi on controversial appointments to the new UN Human Rights Council of two men known for extreme human rights abuses against reporters and bloggers:
The launch of the new body was witnessed by two Iranian representatives whose human-rights records – even by the standards of the Islamic Republic – are infamous: justice minister Jamal Karimirad and Tehran's prosecutor-general Saeed Mortazavi.

Mortazavi was the presiding judge of the infamous Court 1410 and hailed as the "butcher of the press" for his vicious rulings against journalists and free thinkers. He is credited with the closure of more than 100 publications and the harassment and imprisonment of many writers, activists, lawyers and bloggers in recent years. Shirin Ebadi, the lawyer and Nobel laureate, has even accused Mortazavi of being present in 2003 when Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi was tortured and killed.

Link to full text. (Thanks, Cyrus!)

Reader comment: Scott says,

It goes rather further than what you report. Saeed Mortazavi wasn't merely present when Zahra Kazemi was tortured and killed, but (as noted in this NPR report), Iranian reports say he ordered her arrest and supervised the torture.

Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay recently said that Canada wants "this creature brought to justice."

The report also notes that a report by Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami said that Mortazavi's men beat her, pulled out her fingernails, brutally raped her, and killed her.

Marine auctions "Google Water" from Fallujah for charity again

BoingBoing reader Punk Sergeant says,
Hi!! Back in January, BoingBoing blogged about the "Google water" I found while I was in Camp Fallujah, Iraq.

As you might remember I placed the water up for charity auction on Ebay to benefit Fisher House [a charity benefiting military families]. Unfortunately the all-powerful Google had my Ebay site shut down my auction, due to copyright violations. Luckily the highest bidder contacted me outside of Ebay and we were able to make a donation to the Fisher House for $130.

I’m back from Iraq and have brought some Google water back with me. Unfortunately there are Marines and service members who will not be returning to their families. Since Ebay will not allow me to auction off the water for charity. I would like to sell the bottle of water for a $500 donation to the Fisher house. The specific can be worked out between buyer and myself. If any other readers know a better way to auction this off please contact me and I will adjust appropriately.

Link

Video: He-Man versus the Big Lebowski

They peed on The Dude's rug. Link. Update: here's another video that smooshes together very short clips from Lebowski in rapid-fire order. It's like the "Cliff's Notes" version. Link. (thanks, Coop!)

Reader comment: Stella says,

Here's a good Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle remix of a scene from the Big Lebowski. Link

Transformers casting call: ability to morph into robot on cue a plus

Snip from IGN.com:
Central Casting, the self-proclaimed largest extras casting company in the world, has announced an open casting call for extras for director Michael Bay's big-screen version of Transformers. They are looking for 16-17 year-olds and 18-23 year-olds that look like high school students. They require SAG members and non-union talent. The scheduled work dates are July 10-12, 2006, although dates are subject to change.
The call takes place in Burbank, CA on Thursday June 29 -- that's this week. Link. And Jalopnik has peeks at leaks from the forthcoming film: Link. (thanks, Bonnie, and Coop)

Reader comment: Gareth Simpson says,

Since you're looking for Transformers movie stuff and the rumour site you linked to has had its Bumblebee pictures C&Ded, you might like to take a look at this flickr group of on-set photos before it goes the same way.

Vogue magazine cover illos from the 1910s - '30s

Link. (thanks, numlok)

Intel's motivational happy-tune for Chinese factory workers


"Intel Care" is purported to be a corporate motivational song played in Intel's China factories to boost worker morale. "Intel, Intel, The place for you to be, Intel, Intel, The happy family!" Link (Thanks, Tian)

Ice cream truck jingles as MP3 files

When my pal Sean Bonner switched his cell ringtone to the supremely saccharine "Bananaphone," I was pretty sure I'd heard the most obnoxious polyphonic atrocity ever. The annoyance rendered was like that of a thousand Für Elises, mixed with wasps, accordions, and Yoko Ono trying to hit a high note.

But played loudly enough, any one of these ice cream truck melodies would melt that record-setter into a puddle of digital goo. Link to WFMU blog post with lots of audio files, and here's my favorite. Maybe I'll make it my own ringtone. Then every time someone calls me, I'll taste Creamsicles or It's-Its in my brain and imagine a creepy dude hunched over the steering wheel, counting dimes. (thanks, Mike)

Mike Ransom says,

I noticed that WFMU MP3-ized the WAV of "And The Band Played On" from my Ice Cream page: Link.

I found a sample fragment from an urban musicology album online on 4/29/2000 (Link). I was able to carefully re-splice it into a whole so it could play as a continuous loop on the above page.

That's the one I really remember as a kid, plus Mr. Softee (I also like the less wholesome Kid Creole and the Cocoanuts tune with the same title.)

Kraftwerk's vocoder on eBay

A prototype vocoder built for Kraftwerk and pictured on the album Ralf & Florian is up for auction on eBay. Starting bid is $3,800. From the auction description:
 Pictures 1 The device was used for two studio productions, title "Ananas Symphonie" including synthetic vocals and rhythm track in conjunction with lapsteel guitar and rhythm machine , as well for "Kristallo" with rhythm machine and EMS-Synth.

Later used to sound the KW's intro for "Autobahn..."

It was conceived , built and constructed by electronic engineers in the area of Physikalisch-Technische BundesAnstalt (PTB) Braunschweig, Dipl.Ing P.Leunig and Dipl.Ing. K.Obermayer.

Later the well known german music studio engineering and supplier company R.Barth K.G.,Hamburg, Germany, boiled down the know-how gained from this project into so called MUSICODER which was produced in small quantities.
Link (via Music Thing)

Knitted nautiloids

 Issuespring06 Images Nautiealt Beth Skwarecki knitted these beautiful nautiloids, marine mollusks that ruled the seas during the Paleozoic Era. Beth posted directions and the patterns to make your own nautiloids on Knitty.com.
Link (via MAKE: Blog)

New website: The Blog Reader

The Blog Reader is a new website that profiles bloggers. Justin Gerald was kind enough to profile me, and Treehugger's movie-star-handsome Graham Hill. Link

Hubert Selby Jr. documentary screens in NYC

Michael W. Dean and Kenneth Shiffrin's documentary, Hubert Selby Jr: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow, will play July 5 & 6 at The Two Boots/Pioneer Theater.
An exploration into the life and art of the renowned author Hubert Selby Jr, who, against all odds, reached international acclaim with his controversial novels, including Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream. Archival footage and new interviews from the legion of artists and friends, who shared his passion for literature and life, drive this insightful documentary.

With Lou Reed, Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Darren Aronofsky, Uli Edel, Jerry Stahl, Richard Price, Nick Tosches, Amiri Baraka, Henry Rollins, Michael Silverblatt, James Ragan and others. Narrated by Robert Downey, Jr.

Wed. July 5 & Thurs. July 6, 2006 at 7PM -
The Two Boots/Pioneer Theatre
East 3rd Street, between Avenues A and B, New York City, NY
(212) 591 0434

Link

Discount for Boing Boing readers! Jeffrey says:

I'm a Boing Boing reader, and I'm a projectionist at the Pioneer Theater that is screening the Hubert Selby Jr. doc. If any Boing Boing reader comes in and mentions Boing Boing that they read about the movie on Boing Boing, we'll give them discounted admission ($6.50).

German publisher attacks Bulgarian books-for-blind site

A German publishing house is using its clout in Bulgaria to attack a website that legally makes texts available for blind people. Previously, the publisher tried to shut down the site and was pilloried for it; in revenge it is using the Bulgarian police to harrass the site's maintainers.
On the 9th of May the Bulgarian publishing house 'Trud', owned by the German media group Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, sends a letter threatening with a lawsuit the specialized web library for blind people - bezmonitor.com (its name means 'without a monitor'). The publishing house claims that they own the copyrights for certain classical Bulgarian books and translations of foreign- language ones, which appear on the website in files in ASCII format, which is good for reading by audio programs, that do it instead of people, who cannot see. The creator of the website, Victor, who is also blind is supporting it on his own and without any financial profit. Although he removes the texts in question, he mentions this case to his friend Dr. Grigor Gatchev, who is recognized translator, an author and well-known blogger...

Bulgarian citizens as well as organizations of the blind people, such as Association 'Eyesight' and the National Library for the Blind 'Louis Braille' inform all Bulgarian media on the behavior of publishing house 'Trud', which itself owns a few major daily newspapers. 'Trud' tries to prevent the story from becoming public, as the owner of the publishing house is also a director of the Union of the Bulgarian Publishers. And most major media outlets do keep silence. However fewer small independent newspapers voice people's outrage.

Publishing house 'Trud' is furious and wants revenge contacting the main department for combating organized crime to demand the closure of the website although the texts in question are long gone. The department, although a state institution, already has a very bad reputation for serving corporate interests and having made illegal arrests on previous cases. A phone call from the department to the blind programmer of the website, Victor, makes him remove all texts under the fear of arrest, which although completely illegal and immoral, would put Victor's health in danger.

Link (Thanks, Nikola!)

Update: Antonia has posted lots more about this in Bulgarian and English:

1. Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) owns the two biggest daily newspapers in Bulgaria (Trud and 24 Chasa), as well as several weeklies and special editions. The combined circulations of Trud and 24 Chasa are greater than that of all the other dailies in our country. Yes, WAZ is a monopolist as it holds about 70 to 80% of the print media market in Bulgaria.

2. Recently Trud have started an online 'knowledge' site znam.bg -- they are putting texts of classic books there but the access is paid. Any reader should send a short message via cell phone in order to obtain a login. Furthermore the site is all scripts, flash and stuff and is pretty unreadable for text browsers. Surprise, surprise! Such as the ones used by the blind.

When contacted the developers of znam.bg said: "Yes, we know there are other e-libraries, but we are going to make the best one and there will be no need for the others to exist". Once a monopolist, always a monopolist...

How big is Earth compare to other planets and stars

200606271210 Fun series of photos comparing Earth's size to that of other planets and stars. I like the way the planets are laid out on a table.Link

FareCast for finding best day to buy plane tickets goes public


Farecast, a site that predicts what date you should buy a plane ticket to get the best deal, has concluded its private beta and is now open to the public. I've been dreaming of a service like this for years. I hate that every time I buy a plane ticket, I'm sure I'm getting ripped off. Unfortunately, the public beta still only encompasses flights originating in Boston or Seattle. Link (via Kottke)